Little Black Lies – Book Review

Little Black Lies

I decided to pick up Little Black Lies by Sandra Block because I was approved for the third book in this series on Netgalley. When I initially requested the third book in the Zoe Goldman series I didn’t know that there were two books that came before The Secret Room. I’ve been itching to start knocking out my Netgalley reviews and therefore needed to catch up on this series to do that accurately.

This is a mystery novel about a resident in training on a psychiatric ward named Zoe Goldman. Zoe is taking care of a patient named Sofia. Sofia is in the psychiatric ward because two decades ago she killed her own mother but she now appears docile and ready to be released. Meanwhile, Zoe is going through her own troubles because her adoptive mother has dementia and Zoe is trying to find out more information about her birth mother. Zoe starts digging into her own past to find this information and this is where the story takes off.

The first couple chapters of this were hard for me to stomach because I felt that the author didn’t give off good representation for the LGBTQ+ character she included. I decided to move past this and keep going forward as I do have two more books in the series to review. After I finished the book I was happy that I pushed forth because overall I thought her characters she wrote were very well rounded and vibrant. I felt like I knew each character, no matter how minor, very intimately. I particularly loved Zoe’s brother and his devil may care attitude.

While most of this story is focusing on Zoe’s search for information on her birth mother, there is a small love story on the back burner. Zoe is bouncing back and forth between wanting her very “sexy” French ex boyfriend and wanting to just move on. This part of the story doesn’t take up much room and I was pleased to see that. It was just enough love to make the reader care but it didn’t steal the show by any means.

Also you have the patient Sofia and her story to try and decode. This is basically two mysteries in one book. I wanted to comment on how well the pacing was done in this book. When you throw in so much information and searching into a mystery book it’s hard to get the correct pacing down, for me anyway. I get extremely bored of the endless search for answers and that’s why I don’t prefer to ready mystery novels. This book wasn’t like that. Everything was paced beautifully and I never found myself bored.

The ending of this book was wrapped up neat with a bow and I wasn’t sure if I appreciated that or not. While it’s a nice conclusion to a book it’s just something I’m not used to in my everyday reading. Without any spoilers, the mystery was solved very conveniently but I do have do admit that I didn’t see the plot twist coming. Overall I think this is a very solid and quick read. For mystery enthusiasts I could see this series becoming a favorite. As for me I will continue on with Zoe Goldman and her story.

Three stars

 

 

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The Nightingale Review!

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Genre : Adult, Historical Fiction

Goodreads Synopsis : 

Despite their differences, sisters Vianne and Isabelle have always been close. Younger, bolder Isabelle lives in Paris while Vianne is content with life in the French countryside with her husband Antoine and their daughter. But when the Second World War strikes, Antoine is sent off to fight and Vianne finds herself isolated so Isabelle is sent by their father to help her. 

As the war progresses, the sisters’ relationship and strength are tested. With life changing in unbelievably horrific ways, Vianne and Isabelle will find themselves facing frightening situations and responding in ways they never thought possible as bravery and resistance take different forms in each of their actions.

My Review : 

I initially thought going into this book that it was going to be more of a romance rather than a true historical fiction and boy, was I wrong. While there is two minor love stories, they are ultimately put on the back burner of the plot. I loved this aspect of The Nightingale because it really focused on history and above all, feminism. Two things that I absolutely love reading about. This was an interesting take on World War 2, as I’ve never read anything about France’s involvement. Once all the men were sent off to fight in the war, all of the women and children were left behind. While reading this we really got to see what struggles those people still living in an occupied France were going through, needless to say it was horrific.

The first 100 pages or so of this book felt extremely rushed. I was truly discouraged at this point but I pressed on and I became completely engrossed in the novel. We follow first and foremost, Vianne, a married woman whose husband is off at war and she is left to take care of her daughter and their home. It seems simple enough but when a German soldier claims his stake on their house and moves in it becomes a lot more complicated. Vianne in much of the book wanted to turn a blind eye to the politics and wholeheartedly believed that their French soldiers would keep the war away from their home. Unfortunately as time moves on, Vianne realizes this is not the case and she must do everything she can to protect her family, her friends, and eventually even strangers. I really enjoyed watching Vianne grow as a woman and as a warrior in her own way. Even though in the beginning of the book Vianne was unable to keep her sister Isabelle under control and they were consistently fighting, you could really see her motherly instincts and regret over it. Vianne felt human in a way that most characters in novels do not.

Moving onto Isabelle, the wild child, I couldn’t have been more obsessed with her journey. Isabelle starts out as a young woman, a teenager to be exact, who just wants the attention and love of her father who has shunned her from his life ever since his wife passed away. Isabelle meets a young man on her way to her sisters home in France because Paris is no longer safe, and from there we get a very short love story, as he abruptly abandons her when they arrive at their destination. From here on out Isabelle is completely engrossed in becoming a member of the French Resistance and fighting for her country in the best way that she can. This starts off as her delivering ‘terrorist’ newspapers to keep her neighborhood informed on what was truly happening in the war, and not what the Nazis occupying their city is telling them. From there, Isabelle hops a train to Paris and becomes ‘The Nightingale’. What this means without any spoilers is she risks her life day in and day out to fight her own little piece of the war.

At the end of this book I was sobbing, I was proud, I was heartbroken, I was more educated, and I was satisfied. I was excited to see after finishing that The Nightingale is being made into a move. (Please give us Emma Watson as Isabelle). I can’t wait to read more from this author in the future.

4 stars

 

The Young Elites Review!

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Genre : YA, Fantasy

Goodreads Synopsis : 

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Review : 

I’ve read Marie Lu’s previous Legend series and didn’t hate it but I also didn’t love it. I decided to give this one a chance because I didn’t want to base one (okay) experience on an author. I enjoyed The Young Elites much more than her previous works but it still wasn’t something that blew my mind.

I absolutely adored the premise of this book, the blood fever, the malfetto’s, the very small amount of politics involved, and of course super powers. I also wanted to give this story a round of applause for having a villain as the main character as opposed to going on another heroes journey. This was something new for me as I don’t really read much from the bad guys perspective. The characters were pretty incredible, the setting was very atmospheric, and the plot was intriguing. What I didn’t like was the pacing. For the entire middle chunk of this book I was bored out of my skull but I’m pleased that I finished it (for the most part) because it picked up at the ending. Judging by the last chapter I think I’ll continue on with the next books in the series.

I liked this book, I didn’t love it. I don’t know why I felt this way. Nothing was adherently wrong with the writing or anything, I just didn’t connect with any of the characters personally. I do believe as the series goes on I will enjoy it more though, fingers crossed. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is a Young Adult Fantasy lover. This is a good ride and a fun time.

 

3 stars

This Savage Song Review!

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There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake.

This book has been hyped up all over Instagram, Goodreads, and Youtube so when I saw it at the library I decided to give it a go. The premise of this book is that once a heinous crime has been committed, a monster will be created. There are three different types of monsters, one that is a classic eat your face off monster, the other is a vampire type, and the last and most rare is one that steals your soul with a song. One of our main characters is the type to steal your soul.

Kate is one of the main characters and when she was introduced I couldn’t stand her. She was stand-offish, rude, crabby, and all together unlikeable. As her story went on the reader is able to collect information on why exactly she puts on this facade but still by the end of the book she just seemed cookie cutter young adult bad ass female to me. Nothing truly stood out in her personality. August, our other main character, is a monster who wants nothing more than to be human. I had better luck with Augusts character which is surprising because normally I don’t particularly enjoy the heroes of the story. August struggles with what he is and how he has to feed to keep his composure and it’s all very basic.

The only thing that stood out for me was the setting. I’d like the future novels to delve into the other cities surrounding Verity. I am interested in seeing the main characters travel and to learn more about what was once the United States. I always find a dystopian setting extremely satisfying so now that we got a small taste of the world I just want more.

As far as plot twists go, there were many of them. I saw most of them coming from a mile away but at the end I was pleasantly surprised. The ending was the only thing that made me want to continue on with the series. It just spiked my curiosity. One thing that was a relief for me is that our main character Kate figured out relatively quickly that August was a monster. I think if she hadn’t been so fast in that realization it really would have drove me insane. For all my fellow young adult readers out there, you know how annoying it is when a main character is clueless or voluntarily blind to obvious clues. (Twilight for example, it was so obvious). Overall I gave this a three star rating because it had me involved enough to make it a quick read but nothing was really spectacular about it. I’d recommend reading it to others if the plot seems interesting to you. I’ll be picking up the next book, Our Dark Duet, when it becomes available at my library. I don’t intend on ever spending my own money on these books but I’m not opposed to the authors other works or future novels.

 

3 stars

July 2017 TBR

I generally make a TBR each month for myself just to establish some monthly goals and get reading done. I’ve decided to start posting them on here to make myself more accountable. Sometimes I slip heavily from my TBR and I’d like to continue to stay on track as much as possible. Also, this month I went through my bookshelves and wrote down all the books that I own and haven’t read, or that I own and would like to read again. Each title I wrote down, I folded up and put into a three separate cups so that each month I can pull out three surprise books and read them. My cups are set up as one being middle grade, one is classics, and the other is a free for all. My plan is to read everything on my shelves and if I don’t finish the books on time then I need to donate them. I’m trying to reduce the amount of books on my shelves because I plan on moving into a smaller house and I honestly just don’t have the room or necessity for so many books. Here’s this months TBR broken down into categories.

Library Books

This Savage Song – Victoria Schwab

The Young Elites – Marie Lu

The Diviners – Libba Bray

Vassa in the Night – Sarah Porter

The Nightingale – Kristin Hannah

Slasher Girls & Monster Boys – Anthology

Books Owned – Physical Copy

Crossed – Ally Condie

The Red Queen – Philippa Gregory

Books Owned – Kindle

A Crown of Wishes – Roshani Chokshi

The Rose & The Dagger – Renee Ahdieh

TBR Random Cup Pulls

Goosebumps: The Cuckoo Clock of Doom – R. L Stine (Middle Grade pick)

And Then There Were None – Agatha Christie (Classic pick)

Snow Falling on Cedars – David Guterson (Free for all pick)

Throne of Glass Review!

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After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

This is technically my second time reading Throne of Glass but it’s been so long and I wanted to continue on with the series so I decided to read it another time. The first time I rated this a four star book, this time it’s a solid 3.5 stars for me. I think I gave it less of a rating because I’ve read two other Maas books and they’ve set the bar higher for me and her writing.

Throne of Glass starts out and reads as any typical young adult fantasy book. The overall feeling felt like something that wasn’t out of the ordinary but as it progresses it became more unique. This book is truly set in its own unique world and the magic system was different than most, I really appreciated that aspect. The world building was slow but thorough and I felt like she really constructed her own atmosphere at a perfect pace.

Our main character Celaena is an assassin, headstrong, stubborn, and blatantly violent. Those were the characteristics that were presented to us in the beginning of the book but throughout time we saw that Celaena enjoyed getting dolled up, she was narcissistic, she enjoyed elaborate balls, she had musical talent, and really loved engrossing herself in a good book. At first I thought these personality traits really contradicted themselves but once I thought about it I felt like Celaena’s hardened exterior was for a reason and therefore valid. You’re allowed to be a stubborn hardass but also enjoy being dressed up and flattered.

Our two love interests were both equally interesting. I don’t even think I could pick a favorite of the two if I had to because they both serve a special place in my heart. I thought the writing of their love triangle was exactly how a love triangle should be written. It was part of the story but it wasn’t revolved around them.

Celaena also develops a nice yet shaky friendship with a princess from a neighboring country. I loved seeing the similarities between the two girls but also how they contrasted and worked together.

I thought the overall plot was fantastic. There were side characters I’d love to see more from in future novels. The conflicts were many and the outcomes were full of strife and heartache. There were twists, there were turns, and there were moments of complete awe. I think Sarah J Maas was really onto something when she wrote this book and I can’t wait to get back into the world with book number two. I know it just gets better and better from here.

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The White Queen Review!

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The White Queen tells the story of a woman of extraordinary beauty and ambition who, catching the eye of the newly crowned boy king, marries him in secret and ascends to royalty. While Elizabeth rises to the demands of her exalted position and fights for the success of her family, her two sons become central figures in a mystery that has confounded historians for centuries: the missing princes in the Tower of London whose fate is still unknown

Do you have an author that you trust so wholeheartedly that you’d read the back of a shampoo bottle if you knew they wrote it? For me that author is Philippa Gregory.

The White Queen follows our main character Queen Elizabeth of England and her life story, starting from the time she becomes a widow due to her future husbands war. Philippa Gregory is the master of researching history and getting inside the minds of those people to try and tell their story to her utmost ability. Every time I pick up a Gregory novel I know I’m not only going to have a good time, I’m going to learn something. There is also a television show based on this three book series and I watched it along side reading The White Queen. I’m not sure how the remaining two novels are going to go as far as chronological order of history but I’m going to find out because anything that remotely pertains to the Tudors, I will be interested in.

Elizabeth as a character was so vivid, as were all the other characters and even side characters. I didn’t get lost in the nonsense of the court life or the politics which is something I’m always worried about when it comes to accurate historical fiction. These characters were well researched and Gregory breathes such life into them that you can’t help but feel saddened that the people the novel is based off of are long gone.

Aside from the masterful research put into it and the beautiful writing I was pleasantly surprised to find out some major events that my (terrible) history classes left out of the books. I had no idea about the war of the roses, or so they called it. I learned very little in school when it comes to wars and the like but the thing I was most pulled into was the lost princes in the tower.

Leave it to Gregory to bring to light the fact that two small boys, I believe of the ages of 8 and 12, were locked in the Tower of London because they were the princes who would inherit the throne, and never to be seen again. I think it’s probably a little obvious what happened to them, given that their uncle wanted the crown for himself and would have been third in line to inherit it if they were alive. Yet after I started reading about those two tiny princes I found myself in the deep depths of wikipedia and any article about the lost princes that I could find on google. Just like every historical fact that Gregory brings up in her novels, I had to research them for myself. I always find myself SO invested in anything she writes and for long after I am searching for more information on the events. More facts, more theories, more opinions.

Not only was this book a five star read for me, it was an educational experience to say the least. To say the most, it’s now a burning obsession of mine and I’m probably going to go ahead and completely inhale anything else Gregory goes on to write.

5 Star Rating

Matched Review!

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In the Society, officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.

Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s hardly any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one…until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow—between perfection and passion.

I picked this book up at a thrift store MANY years ago and haven’t touched it since. It just never really called to me until the other day. After reading the synopsis on the back of the book I basically knew what to expect and I don’t think I reached for it for so long because I get so bored with angst-y teenage love triangles. Finally I was staring at my bookshelves looking for something to read since I ran out of library books and just decided I needed to read Matched or I needed to start getting rid of the books I’ve had longest on my shelves.

This book was a delight. From start to finish it was quick paced and (shocker!) I never found myself bored. From the first couple chapters I became hooked right away because it was giving me major The Giver vibes. Just like most human beings, The Giver is one of my favorite books of all time so if I’m seeing a setting that is familiar I’m going to have a good time. Dystopian is my cup of tea and regardless of the obvious love triangle involved, so was Matched.

The characters were kind of cut and paste YA but for some reason it just flowed for me. I was okay with the two love interests, I was okay with our main character being so predictable. None of the characters were blow your mind amazing but they weren’t awful either.

The plot, the setting, the society, and the rules are really what had me interested. I found myself making a lot of guesses as to what was going to happen, but being thoroughly surprised throughout the book. This is an A+ for me because I love a good twist. The more twists the better, and with Matched it was certainly MORE than LESS twists.

I gave this book a 4 stars even though it’s probably closer to a 3.5. I was being generous because after I finished I needed MORE. After just a week of finishing Matched I’m now a proud owner of the entire series (thank you so much to my incredible boyfriend for buying them for me!) and I cannot wait to finish the series. Do I think it’s going to be one of my favorites of all time? No. This is more of a guilty pleasure read, much like The Selection series was for me. I’m absolute trash for it and I don’t even care.

4 stars

Three Dark Crowns Review!

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In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born—three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.

The last queen standing gets the crown.

I thought this book was going to be my favorite book of 2017, and then I read Strange the Dreamer and this one got knocked down one slot. (Yes if you follow my blog then you know this review is coming a little late). Three Dark Crowns was FANTASTIC. I mean look at that synopsis, three magical sisters who have to compete against each other to the death until the last one standing wins the throne. I’m all in. It’s like a young adult Game of Thrones and I LIVE for GoT.

First we get to know Queen Katharine who is living with the poisoners. Katharine and her community can ingest poisons without any harmful effects and they are experts at administering poisons as well. The only issue is, Katharine isn’t very great at the ingesting poisons part. This makes her an easy target for her sisters to kill her once the competition begins. Katharine is easily my favorite Queen. She seemed a lot more human than the other girls, with valid feelings and maybe she just reminded me a little of myself.

Queen Arisnoe is a naturalist but her ability hasn’t presented itself yet. I loved Arisnoe as a character but the people surrounding her generally drove me insane. I think this made me not like her storyline as much. I wasn’t as invested as I think I could have been because of what was going on in her part of the world.

Queen Mirabella is an elemental and is absolutely the most powerful sister. I’m hoping in book two we get more of Mirabella because after finishing Three Dark Crowns I still didn’t feel like I knew her in my heart as the other two sisters. Her storyline was absolutely atrocious at times and I found myself hoping to finish her chapters quickly to get onto the other girls. I didn’t hate her as a person or character, it’s just her setting and plot was very boring.

I think the plot of this entire book was absolutely brilliant and I’m SO READY for the next book in the series. I don’t even know who I’m rooting for at this point because while two of the sisters settings and side characters I didn’t enjoy, I did enjoy them as people. Katharine is my favorite Queen but I can easily see that being swayed as the story goes on. I think this is a MUST read for anyone out there who enjoys fantasy or is not so patiently waiting for the next season of Game of Thrones. This will give you a quick fix.

5 Star Rating

We Are The Ants Review!

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There are a few things Henry Denton knows, and a few things he doesn’t.

Henry knows that his mom is struggling to keep the family together, and coping by chain-smoking cigarettes. He knows that his older brother is a college dropout with a pregnant girlfriend. He knows that he is slowly losing his grandmother to Alzheimer’s. And he knows that his boyfriend committed suicide last year.

What Henry doesn’t know is why the aliens chose to abduct him when he was thirteen, and he doesn’t know why they continue to steal him from his bed and take him aboard their ship. He doesn’t know why the world is going to end or why the aliens have offered him the opportunity to avert the impending disaster by pressing a big red button.

But they have. And they’ve only given him 144 days to make up his mind.

The question is whether Henry thinks the world is worth saving. That is, until he meets Diego Vega, an artist with a secret past who forces Henry to question his beliefs, his place in the universe, and whether any of it really matters. But before Henry can save the world, he’s got to figure out how to save himself, and the aliens haven’t given him a button for that.

 

I don’t normally go for contemporary books because it’s not a preferred genre of mine but We Are The Ants sparked my attention from all the rave reviews, including reviews from people I have similar book tastes with. I was mostly interested in this book because there was a weird alien abduction aspect going on within the synopsis. Let me be clear, this book is about mental illnesses, loss, bullying, and a lot of other issues that need to be brought to light within the YA genre. What this book is not; scifi. Don’t let the aliens fool you, this is a contemporary through and through.

I liked the pacing of this book. It takes me an eternity to get through most contemporary novels but this one flew by. There were a lot of issues going on and every chapter I finished I felt like I needed to keep going to find out what was going to happen. I also enjoyed the authors dark humor for the most part, although sometimes it was a bit too much. I’m an adult who loves YA, mostly fantasy, so contemporary high school YA books really annoy me. I felt like that with We Are The Ants but not even a fraction as much as when I read most others in this sub-genre. Honorable mention to the fact that this is an LGBTQ+ book. We are finally seeing a lot more of this in books nowadays and I will ALWAYS appreciate a LGBTQ+ romance, especially when it comes to main characters.

The characters are something I’m always looking for when I’m reading a book. How well do I connect with the characters or how fleshed out do they feel is the question I ask myself during and after I finish. I did feel like I was on this journey with our main character Henry as he has to deal with all these awful yet very real problems. I felt like the “villains” so to speak were fleshed out as well. My problem was that everyone else was bland.

I overall rated this a four star because of the content within, the issues at hand, and the fact that a lot of what was talked about NEEDS to be talked about. I tried rating this from a different place than I normally would. Not exactly how much I enjoyed reading it, but how important it is instead. For my taste it was much more of a 3 star book for me, just okay, but I think it is important so I gave it an extra star. Be aware that there is a slew of trigger warnings in this book and do not read it if rape or suicide triggers you specifically.

Also I think it’s worth mentioned that this book did make me cry a little bit. It was heartfelt and I appreciated it. I’m not generally one to cry during a book (unless it’s Where The Red Fern Grows or Harry Potter) so We Are The Ants really hit me more than normal.

 

4 stars